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Destination branding and digital diplomacy, as two driving forces for the tourism industry, can capitalize on branding strategies and marketing instruments from commercial practice. Although existing research has explored ways this should include search engine optimization (SEO) tools and analyses, implementation has been limited so far. Currently, daily queries and results in global search engines have a major impact on international perceptions of countries and the formation of public opinions in the context of the tourism industry and country relations. SEO tools not only create new challenges and possibilities for data analysis for related scientific disciplines, but also offer great benefits for political, cultural, and educational institutions and decision-makers in destination branding and tourism. It is crucial for these entities to carefully evaluate and strategically employ websites and web content to rank better in search engine results. This study closes a gap in applied research by critically examining common approaches to search engine analysis for tourism purposes, especially those based on Google Trends data. This includes introducing previously neglected SEO analysis methods, along with cases regarding their applications. The study concludes by discussing the limitations of search engine resources and their potential for future research and use in destination branding and digital diplomacy in the tourism context.

Keywords: SEO; destination branding; digital diplomacy; search engines; tourism

Affiliations: Marketing, IU International University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Appeared or available online: July 12, 2023

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